Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The philosophy of action investigates what actions are, how they arise, and how they are explained. The aim of this course is to provide an introduction to a range of classical themes and questions within the philosophy of action.

The course begins with an examination of what actions are. Among other things, we look at the relationship between action and bodily movement.

Next we discuss the connection between actions and reasons, an important question under this heading being whether the connection may be causal. We then turn to discuss what kind of mental states intentions are, and the relationship between doing something intentionally and intending to do it.

We will also examine the notion of practical rationality (including decision theory) and ask what motivated irrationality is. Different views of motivation, reasons, and action explanation will we covered.

Learning outcome

You will get in-depth knowledge of philosophical problems surrounding the understanding and explanation of action. At the end of the course, you will be acquainted with, and be able critically to evaluate, different views of the ontology of action, action explanation, intentions, practical rationality and irrationality, reasons and motivation.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Recommended previous knowledge

We recommend that you take FIL1001 - Introduction to metaphysics and philosophy of mind before signing up for FIL2207, since a certain degree of background knowledge within this field is expected.

Overlapping courses

  • 5 credits overlap with FIL1202
  • 5 credits overlap with FIL2204


The course is taught throughout the semester with 2 hours per week (24 hours in total). The course has the following compulsury tuition avtivities:

  • An oral presentation in class. This might be either an individual presentation or a group presentation depending on the number of students taking the course. The presentation must be accepted as satisfactory in order to maintain the right to sit the exam. This acticity will only be valid for one semester.


An essay of approximately 10 pages à 2300 characters exclusive bibliography and footnotes.

When you write an essay you are entitled to receive individual tutoring. However, this requires that you submit a draft to your teacher. An exact deadline for handing in the draft will be given by the teacher during the seminar.

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit assignments in Inspera.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Examination support material

No examination support material is allowed.

Language of examination

You may write your examination paper in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


All courses are subject to continuous evaluation. The Department's assessments of courses are
available at our web-pages but generally only in Norwegian.

Facts about this course






Spring 2020

Spring 2018

Spring 2016

The course is offered on an irregular basis, but normally at least every third semester.

Unfortunately this course will not be offered fall 19.



Spring 2020

Spring 2018

The course is offered on an irregular basis, but normally at least every third semester.

Unfortunately this course will not be offered fall 19.

Teaching language

Norwegian (English on request)